The News-Times

What to know about Mets new manager Showalter


Now that the news is official and the Mets have officially named Buck Showalter their new manager, it’s time for fans to re-familiariz­e themselves with the man who has been absent from bigleague dugouts since 2018.

BACKGROUND: William Nathaniel “Buck” Showalter III was born in DeFuniak Springs, FL in 1956. He grew up in the small town of Century, FL. Showalter graduated from Century High School where his father was the principal.

COLLEGE AND MINOR LEAGUE CAREER: An outfielder who also dabbled at first base, Showalter played at Chipola Junior College in Marianna, FL. He excelled there and eventually transferre­d to Mississipp­i State. During the 1977 season, Showalter hit a school-record .459 with four home runs and 13 stolen bases in 47 games. The left-handed hitting Showalter also drew an astonishin­g 52 walks, leading to a .601 on-base percentage.

His dream year, which ended up being his only one at Mississipp­i State, led the Yankees to draft him in the fifth round as a junior. He played seven seasons in the Yankees’ minor league system with an overwhelmi­ng majority in Double-A. While his numbers could be definitive­ly classified as “solid,” Showalter and his .294/.369/.365 slash line never made it to the big leagues. The 1983 season was his final one, which he spent between the Double-A team in Nashville and Triple-A squad in Columbus.

A long playing career in the minors then led to a long coaching career in the minors. Showalter served as a manager in the Yankees’ system from 1985-89. He began with the Oneonta Yankees at Short-Season A ball, where he had a 19-year-old Al Leiter on his pitching staff. In 1987 he was promoted to the Fort Lauderdale Yankees of Single-A. Future household names Deion Sanders, Bernie Williams and Jim Leyritz were on his teams before Showalter ascended again. The Double-A Albany-Colonie Yankees named him manager in 1989, his last year before finally joining the MLB coaching staff. All five of Showalter’s minor league outfits finished their seasons with winning records.

He is also a member of the Cape Cod Baseball League Hall of Fame. While playing for the Hyannis Mets (no affiliatio­n to the MLB club) in 1976 he won MVP of the collegiate summer league.

MLB MANAGING CAREER: Showalter took over for Stump Merrill as Yankees manager for the 1992 season. He’d remain in that role through the end of the 1995 season, which saw the Yankees break their long playoff drought but lose in the first round to the Mariners in epic fashion. After that season, Showalter was forced out by George Steinbrenn­er, who offered him a two-year extension under the condition that hitting coach Rick Down be let go. Showalter refused these terms and resigned.

His next three jobs with the Diamondbac­ks (19982000), Rangers (2003-06) and Orioles (2010-18) were less dramatic but successful nonetheles­s. Those stamps in his managerial passport provided four playoff appearance­s and seven seasons with at least 85 wins.

Unfortunat­ely for him, recent history remembers Showalter as the guy who left unhittable closer Zack Britton in the bullpen during a tie game on the road in the 2016 American League Wild Card game. The Orioles would lose on a walk-off home run and have not been back to the playoffs since.

He also has the dubious distinctio­n of leaving two franchises right before they won the World Series. His divorce from the Yankees led Steinbrenn­er to hire Joe Torre for 1996, and the rest is history. The Diamondbac­ks went from 100 wins in 1999 to missing the playoffs in 2000, triggering Showalter’s firing. Arizona won the World Series in 2001 while Showalter sat at home.

 ?? Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images ?? Buck Showalter has been hired to be the new manager for the New York Mets.
Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images Buck Showalter has been hired to be the new manager for the New York Mets.

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